Friday, October 31, 2008

Around the league

The underground media in the NBL continues to do a good job covering the league and keeping fans up to date. John Rillie and DJ Rod have just released the latest edition of the OT while Andrew Gaze and Mark Bradtke are up to Episode 7 of Gaze TV.

The OT's special guest this week is Corey "Homicide" Williams who is hilarious as always. He certainly lacks no confidence and his street-ball stories alone make this episode worth listening to. Yours truly also gets a mention right at the end.

Gaze TV is good also. Drewey's interview with Russell Hinder after the Spirit game is hilarious. Russell is in fine form as usual and I cracked up when he dropped the "its what I do" comment. Its good to see the boys are now filming indoors rather than in the car park outside Tigers training facilities ... next thing they need is a tripod. The OT has its "dodgy accent girl" announcer, Gaze TV has a dodgy camera guy with a shaky hand! Also, still no mention by them about the OT.

How NOT to shoot free throws

I came across this post on Dime this morning. You know how you have dreams/nightmares about playing basketball (or other sports) and no matter what you can't do anything right? No, um ok ... maybe its just me then. I have them about basketball and golf. You're in a game and you just can't hit a shot ... not a lay-up, your jumper is literally coming out sideways, its horrible. The harder you try, the worse it gets. Chuck Hayes has had this in real life ... painful to watch. Chuck, give me a call, I'll fix that glitch.

Dime: Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

Chuck Hayes Worked On His Free Throw Shooting
By Andrew Katz

Thank goodness Chuck Hayes has spent some time in the offseason at the stripe. After being laughed at by Allen Iverson and the entirety of Denver last December when shooting a tech, Hayes seems to have worked out the kink in his form.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Updated Odds to Win the 2008-09 NBA Championship

With the NBA season about to get underway any minute now (literally) ... I just found this list of the current championship odds. Click on the title below to read the entire story.

If I had some some loose change that I wanted to bet, I'd be looking at the Cavs, Spurs, Suns & Hornets as "roughies".

Dime: Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers » Blog Archive » Updated Odds to Win the 2008-09 NBA Championship

Atlanta Hawks - 60/1
Boston Celtics - 7/2
Charlotte Bobcats - 75/1
Chicago Bulls - 35/1
Cleveland Cavaliers -14/1
Dallas Mavericks - 25/1
Denver Nuggets - 60/1
Detroit Pistons - 11/1
Golden State Warriors - 75/1
Houston Rockets - 8/1
Indiana Pacers - 100/1
Los Angeles Clippers - 80/1
Los Angeles Lakers - 3/1
Memphis Grizzlies - 300/1
Miami Heat - 45/1
Milwaukee Bucks - 200/1
Minnesota Timberwolves -150/1
New Jersey Nets - 100/1
New Orleans Hornets - 10/1
New York Knicks - 100/1
Oklahoma City Thunder - 200/1
Orlando Magic -30/1
Philadelphia 76ers - 25/1
Phoenix Suns - 18/1
Portland Trailblazers - 24/1
Sacramento Kings - 200/1
San Antonio Spurs -12/1
Toronto Raptors - 28/1
Utah Jazz - 15/1
Washington Wizards - 80/1

I just checked the Yahoo scoreboard and the season has officially begun and the Cavs are doing well so far against the reigning champion Celtics. Other than the Lakers and Celtics, who would you put money on to win the title this season? Leave a comment below

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More NBL news

While I'm catching up on everything NBL, today saw the announcement of the NBL player of the week that went to Adelaide 36er Luke Schenscher (below). Thanks to his outstanding 33 points and 20 rebounds against Perth he took the honour ahead of Redhage, Ere, Homicide and Anstey ... amongst others. Luke's 30-20 night was the first by a sixer since Mark Bradtke in 1992!!

Also in Adelaide, Boti is calling for the axe to drop in his latest article.

Could Australians soon be seeing NBA games back on free-to-air TV again? The Age better not be teasing me! Thanks to Glockers for the scoop.

(Luke Schenscher ... get a haircut!)

NBL wrap - round 6

Another big/busy weekend (fantasy draft Friday night, buck's day/night on Saturday, cash poker game all day Sunday) so I'm only catching up on all things NBL today.

Here are the results and the numbers that matter from round 6 in the NBL:

Crocodiles 103 Spirit 101

For the Crocs:
Homicide Williams 35 points (13 of 16 from the field), 7 assists
Russell Hinder 20 points (including 5 triples??!!), 5 boards
Rosell Ellis 14 points, 10 boards, 5 steals, 3 blocks, 3 assists

For the Spirit:
Julian Khazzouh 18 points, 14 boards
Derrick Low 18 points, 4 boards

I had to look twice, did Hinder really hit 5 triples in a game?? That's more than JR, B-Rad and Kelvin Robertson combined! Hang your head in shame Croc shooters. Low-lights from the game was Kelvin shooting just 2 of 12 from the field and youngster Cameron Tovey going 2 of 8 from the line.

Taipans 101 Breakers 92 (in OT)

For the Taipans:
Ian Crosswhite 19 points, 10 boards
Dave Thomas 17 points, 7 boards, 3 steals
Larry Abney 13 points, 8 boards

For the Breakers:
Kirk Penney 21 points
CJ Bruton 15 points, 7 assists, 6 boards

The foul count went against the Breakers 28 to 11, giving the Taipans 34 shots from the line compared to just 6 for NZ.

Hawks 98 Blaze 96

For the Hawks:
Kavossy Franklin 26 points, 9 assists
Cameron Tragardh 22 points (8 of 11 from the field)
Dusty Rychart 21 points, 13 boards

For the Blaze:
Greg Vanderjagt 23 points, 12 boards
Shane Heal 20 points (on 6 of 20 shooting), 8 assists

The Blaze dominated the last quarter 28 - 15 but it looks like it was too little too late (just).

Wildcats 104 36ers 93

For the Wildcats:
Shawn Redhage 25 points, 10 boards, 4 assists
Darnell Hinson 21 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals

For the 36ers
Luke Schenscher 33 points, 20 boards!!
Jacob Holmes 16 points, 10 boards

Tigers 110 Crocs 97

For the Tigers:
Ebi Ere 32 points, 9 boards
Chris Anstey 29 points, 16 boards
David Barlow 13 points, 10 boards

For the Crocs:
Homicide Williams 21 points, 7 boards, 4 assists
John Rillie (WELCOME BACK!!) 18 points, 4 assists
Rosell Ellis 12 points, 10 boards
Kelvin Robertson 17 points (including 5 triples), 6 assists

Tigers dominated the boards 59 - 43. Low-lights, Townsville shot just 12 of 27 from the line, Cam Tovey repeated his performance from earlier in the week again going just 2 of 8 from the stripe. Free-throw expert John Rillie was 0 of 2 ... very un-Rillie like ... but he had 18 points (his season high) so we'll not focus on the negative.

Dragons 94 Taipans 65

For the Dragons:
Tremmell Darden 19 points, 6 boards
Matt Burston 16 points, 16 boards

For the Taipans
Larry Abney 14 points, 10 boards
Dave Thomas 11 points, 11 boards

Low-lights ... umm, the Taipans final score? Cairns shot just 33% from the field and 15% from downtown.

Breakers 116 Blaze 113

For the Breakers:
Kirk Penney 30 points, 7 boards
Oscar Forman 24 points (including 6 of 8 from deep), 5 boards
CJ Bruton 17 points (including 12 of 12 from the line), 6 assists

For the Blaze:
James Harvey 30 points, 6 boards, 4 assists
Casey Frank 18 points, 6 boards
Shane Heal 16 points, 8 assists

Breakers win on the road ... but against the winless Blaze does a 3 point victory really count as a W? Blaze are 0 - 9 this season but are getting close to winning their first game (2 point loss to the Hawks, 3 point loss to the Breakers).

Spirit 99 Hawks 86

For the Spirit:
Derrick Low 24 points, 4 assists
Liam Rush 22 points, 7 boards
Matthew Knight 15 points, 10 boards
Julian Khazzouh 13 points, 7 boards

For the Hawks:
Dusty Rychart 22 points, 11 boards
Kavossy Franklin 15 points, 7 assists

At the end of round 6 in the NBL the Dragons are in first spot with 7 wins 2 losses followed by the Breakers with 5 wins 2 losses. Everyone's pick for the title, the Melbourne Tigers are currently 3rd with 5 wins 3 losses. The current streaks in the league ... Dragons have won 5 in a row, Perth 3 ... 36ers have lost 5 in a row and obviously the Blaze 9.

Before we get to our Shooter of the Week, we're going to name and shame the Vlade Divac Flops of the Week. There are two recipients this week, Cameron Tovey for shooting 2 of 8 from the line TWICE in one week and "shooter" Mat Campbell for going 1 of 11 from the field against the Spirit.

Now, Shooter of the Week was close to going to bigman Russell Hinder for shooting a surprising 5 of 7 from downtown but the winner this week is Breakers forward Oscar Forman (below). Forman gets the nod mainly for his 6 of 8 from downtown against the Blaze but he also had 4 triples against the Taipans earlier in the week.

(Yes, I couldn't find a decent action photo of Oscar)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quality or quantity?

Sometimes quantity IS quality ...

I just finished listening to the last episode of the OT from John Rillie and DJ Rod (I can't believe Andrew Gaze has never heard of the show) and it reminded me of something I've been meaning to comment on. At the start of the show, the "dodgy accent girl" mentions that JR is the self-proclaimed basketball blogger of the year. Now ... that's quite a statement considering the number of basketball bloggers around the place, but JR definitely has claim to the title. One thing you want from a blog is regular posts, so check out John Rillie's blog and look at the blog archive on the bottom left hand side of the page to see how many posts he gives you a month. October isn't quite over but he's already done 32 posts, September 32, August 30, July 31. Consistent and impressive stuff JR! I have work to do to try and keep up but relatively speaking I've only just started (almost two full months now).

While we're talking about John Rillie, my last post showed how I went in my NBA fantasy basketball draft (don't forget I had to pick last), where's yours JR??

(JR's blogging form is as impressive as his shooting form)

NBA Fantasy Draft

Friday night was the big one, the live draft of our fantasy basketball league. I did my prep in the lead up to it reading a number of ESPN articles, Yahoo stories and some of the Dime posts.

Some of the boys descended upon The Shop early and we grabbed some Thai for dinner. Another couple joined us during dinner and we came back to the office to set up and have a few pre-draft drinks.

30 minutes before the draft begins the order is announced and unfortunately yours truly gets the unlucky last spot. The first spot is the poisoned-chalice, it sounds great because you get to choose the best player but then you have to wait until the end of the second round (in our league that's another 23 picks) before you get another pick. The final spot is tough because you get the 12th and 13th pick which means you miss out on the upper echelon of players (top 4 or 5) and after your first two selections you have to wait until pick number 36 before you're up again.

I had a strategy going in to the draft but found it very tough to get the type of players I was after. I was after point guards and power forwards but my picks just didn't seem to fall in to the right place to get the right value. I openly admit to over-paying for a couple of my squad but I was pleased to get my hands on a couple of players I really wanted.

So here's my squad and the position they were drafted:

12. Steve Nash
(I've never owned Steve, he's my favourite player, I wanted a top-tier point guard and he was basically all that was left. Taken a little too high but I'm ok with that.)
13. Danny Granger
(Also taken too early but has a good upside this season and should be the go-to guy for the Pacers)
36. Hedo Turkoglu
(I drafted Hedo in the 11th round last season and he was outstanding for me. He should be good again this year and will essentially play the point guard role.)
37. Carmelo Anthony
60. Devin Harris
61. Al Horford
(I needed a bigman and took Al a little early but he was solid for me last year and should be even better this season. The other bigmen options were more risky propositions so I'm ok with Horford here.)
84. Troy Murphy
(Murphy finished last season strongly and is tipped to be a bit of a sleeper this season)
85. Luol Deng
108. Nick Collison
109. Steve Blake
(I think the beers kicked in by this stage and for some reason I thought we were close to the last pick and I wanted another point-guard ... yes, WAY too early for Blake.)
132. Mickael Pietrus
(Potential sleeper and I was trying to load up on triples with Nash, Granger, Turk, Murphy, etc)
133. Chris Wilcox
156. Rodney Stuckey
157. Jason Maxiell
(Rodney or Jason should be the sleeper for the aging Pistons this season, if either of them are then they're a steal in the last round.)

I didn't want as many swingmen as I drafted so I need to trade for some dominant power-forward/bigmen. David West is high up on the hot list and the wheels are in motion already ...

(Can my boy Steve Nash lead my squad to the fantasy promised land, not to mention the cash prize that's up for grabs in our league this season?!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black's back may be done

I got a text this morning from one of my inside sources with the news that Cairns Taipans guard Stephen Black may be done for the season. I then came across this article (below) and it seems it could be worse than first thought, possibly career-ending. Click on the title to read the rest of the article.

I remember Stephen from his years with the Bullets and it was sad to see him constantly struggle with the injuries and conditions that's he had. He was like a young guy in an old man's body. He looked fine on the court but he was the walking wounded off it.

Probably the highlight of his NBL career was his performance for the Brisbane Bullets in their championship winning grand final series. Stephen had struggled in the semi-finals against the Kings but stepped up against the Tigers when his team really needed him the most. Blacky is a fantastic shooter and its great to watch him in action so we wish him all the best and hope to see him back on court soon.

NBL > News

Black may not be back

Thu, 23 Oct 2008 7:35 AM
By Jamie Townsend, Sportal

The Cairns Taipans are preparing for life without Stephen Black after their star guard was unable to take the court in their thrilling 101-92 overtime win over the New Zealand Breakers on Wednesday night.

Black has battled an ongoing back injury for the past two seasons but his injury flared mid-week, ruling him out for the match and putting a big question mark over the rest of his career.

His father, Taipans coach Alan Black spoke of the challenge his son has been facing just to get on the court each week.

'He's just tried to play through the pain, but over the last two weeks he's been having two ice baths a day and taking pain killers and its just got to the point where his body has packed up,' he stated.

Kirk Penney talks ... we listen

Penney WAS enjoying that winning feeling ... but unfortunately they went down to the Taipans in OT last night. It looks like the Breakers still have work to do to learn how to get wins on the road and become a true threat for the championship. Click on the title below to read the full story.

NBL > News

Penney enjoying that winning feeling

Tue, 21 Oct 2008 4:06 PM
By Jonathan Healy, Sportal

Kirk Penney has a feeling that the New Zealand Breakers are on the verge of achieving something special this season.

Having started the campaign with four wins from their first five games, the Breakers currently occupy top spot on the NBL ladder and Penney believes the feeling around the club is the best he can remember at his time with the New Zealand franchise.

'We have had the one loss, but we have protected our home court pretty good so far,' Penney told

'We don't have the injuries we had last year either. I think last year we had a great feel too, we made some strides for the club and making the playoffs was a huge step for the club and at times we played some really good basketball.'

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spirit in crisis meeting with NBL

I stumbled across this. Sydney teams always seem to struggle just as they're starting to put it together on the court. One minute the Kings are in the grand final with a chance to win the championship, the next they no longer exist. The Spirit start to play well on-court (they just lost by 2 to the Crocs tonight) but that may not matter. Click on the title below to read the rest of the story.

Spirit in crisis meeting with NBL - Basketball - Fox Sports

Spirit in crisis meeting with NBL

By Tim Morrissey
October 20, 2008

NBL boss Chuck Harmison will hold a crisis meeting with the Spirit this week to address the alarming lack of support for Sydney's only basketball team, which is heading for a $1 million loss.

The Spirit reportedly lost around $800,000 last season when they were called the West Sydney Razorbacks. However, since rebranding themselves following the demise of the Sydney Kings all they've achieved is alienation from the majority of fans from both organisations.

That was highlighted by a dismal crowd of 1,476 at the Spirit's showcase game against Brian Goorjian's new club, the South Dragons, at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. By contrast the Dragons' showdown against the Tigers, who were backing up the next night, attracted the biggest crowd of the season with 9,308 people attending the local Melbourne derby.

An example of how "legit" the NBL is about the Spirit, I was grabbing the logo below from the NBL website and the link is actually to (which of course no longer exists). I guess its not easy for the league office to keep up with all the changes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How not to make the team ...

(How not to make the team) ... get in a fight with the team's star player. I heard about Rick Rickert's melee with Kevin Garnett a little while ago but JR had a post to this article on his blog and now that Rickert's playing well in the NBL I thought it was worth posting. Click on the title to read the entire article.

Basketball: US import ups the intensity - 19 Oct 2008 - NZ Herald: New Zealand and International Sports News

Basketball: US import ups the intensity
4:00AM Sunday Oct 19, 2008
By Dylan Cleaver

If you're going to get into a fight, you might as well start at the top. That's what Breakers import Rick Rickert did when he was picked up by his home state Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2003 draft. In a pick-up game, he and Kevin Garnett, the Kevin Garnett, had a tete-a-tete that effectively ended Rickert's meaningful involvement with the team. Garnett, perhaps the most respected player in the NBA, went on to win the championship with the Boston Celtics this year, in the process reviving the sport's most successful, yet flat-lining franchise.

When I was looking for a decent pick of Rick Rickert, I stumbled across this site. Is that REALLY his wife?? HOT

NBL wrap - round 5

I know I seemingly went missing for a few days ... 4 or 5 days without posting, what's going on?? Ha ha ha, nothing serious, honestly. I had a massive weekend and just haven't had a chance. The weekend started on Thursday night with my regular APL poker game, Friday night I got an invite to a corporate at the QLD Roar, Saturday night I had a friend's 30th and then Sunday was spent playing in a State poker tournament.

Anyway, down to business and round 5 of the NBL season ...

Perth Wildcats 89 Wollongong Hawks 77

For Perth:
Alex Loughton 21 points (9 of 13 from the field)
Shawn Redhage 20 points, 8 boards, 4 assists
Stephen Weigh 15 points, 8 boards

For Wollongong:
Anthony Petrie 24 points 8 boards
Dusty Rychart 10 points, 7 boards

It really looks like the Hawks just failed to show up for this game. Glen Saville, Kavossy Franklin and Cameron Tragardh combined shot just 9 of 29 from the field.

NZ Breakers 120 Gold Coast Blaze 108

For NZ:
Kirk Penney 29 points (including 15 of 16 from the line)
Rick Rickert 22 points (9 of 12 from the field), 6 boards
Phill Jones 21 points (6 of 8 shooting, including 4 triples)
CJ Bruton 22 points, 8 assists, 7 boards

For GC:
Shane Heal 23 points, 7 assists
Luke Whitehead 22 points, 6 boards, 5 assists
James Harvey 17 points (including 5 triples)

Not too much D played in this one with both teams shooting around 50% from the field. The game was close for most of it but NZ pulled away when it mattered.

Wollongong Hawks 105 Adelaide 36'ers 95

For Wollongong:
Kavossy Franklin 24 points, 6 boards, 4 assists
Dusty Rychart 16 points, 12 boards
Glen Saville 14 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals

For Adelaide:
Mark Tyndale 18 points, 8 assists, 6 boards
Adam Ballinger 17 points (7 of 9 from the field), 6 boards

Welcome back Kavossy! After a very slow start this is the sort of output the Hawks expect from him. Balanced performance from the Hawks, Adelaide started strongly but couldn't finish it off. Brett Maher continues to struggle for Adelaide ... 2 of 10 from the field.

South Dragons 106 Sydney Spirit 101

For the Dragons:
Tremmell Darden 22 points, 8 boards, 4 assists
Nick Horvath 17 points, 8 boards
Joe Ingles 17 points

For the Spirit:
Derrick Low 32 points (including 7 triples)
Julian Khazzouh 15 points, 11 boards

Sydney charged home in this one (outscoring the Dragons 23 - 14 in the final quarter) but it was too little too late.

Perth Wildcats 107 Townsville Crocodiles 93

For Perth:
Darnell Hinson 10 points, 10 boards, 9 assists
Shawn Redhage 15 points, 7 assists, 6 boards
Ben Knight 17 points, 5 boards

For Townsville:
Rossel Ellis 21 points (10 of 15 from the field), 10 boards
Homicide Williams 20 points, 4 assists ... 6 turnovers
Russell Hinder 16 points, 11 boards

13 days (the break between games that the Crocs had) is a long time in sport. 13 days ago they beat Perth by 17 and now they lose by 14. EIGHT Wildcats scored in double figures in a very balanced team performance. Apparently Perth's physical style of play knocked the Crocs off their game.

South Dragons 108 Melbourne Tigers 80

For the Dragons:
Joe Ingles 26 points, 9 boards, 8 assists, 4 steals
Tremmell Darden 18 points, 8 boards
Nick Horvath 17 points

For the Tigers:
Chris Anstey 27 points, 11 boards, 4 blocks
Sam Mackinnon 9 points, 8 boards,

Massive game from Joe Ingles, John Rillie said in his latest podcast that the game would be decided by the match up of Joe and Rod Gizzard. Joe wins hands down and so do the Dragons. Tigers shot just 32% from the field (without Anstey, they shot just 27%) and 17% from downtown. Its disappointing that this wasn't closer because there was a fantastic crowd of over 9300 on hand to see the local derby.

Cairns Taipans 102 Gold Coast Blaze 87

For Cairns:
Larry Abney 19 points, 7 boards
Stephen Black 18 points
Martin Cattalini 17 points, 7 boards

For GC:
Greg Vanderjagt 17 points, 8 boards
James Harvey 18 points

Cairns were too good and the Blaze continue to stink it up (0 of 7 so far this season) ... enough said.

For his outstanding performance in what should have been the game of the round, Joe Ingles was yesterday named player of the week.

For raining in 7 triples, our Shooter of the Week award goes to Derrick Low (below) from the Spirit. Considering no one is going to their games, I wasn't surprised that I couldn't find any action shots of him in the NBL. Nice shooting form in this photo tho.

The countdown has begun

With just over 7 days until the NBA season begins there's only one thing more exciting than opening night and that's our fantasy basketball league live draft!

Some friends and I have been competing in a yahoo fantasy league for the last 5 or so years and while the season is fun, the live draft is definitely the highlight! This year its a late draft for us (just days before the season tips off) and I've got most of the Brisbane entrants descending on The Shop (our office) on Friday night. The last couple of years I've done the live draft with my boys Tux and Eto before but with 7 people in the office the draft is going to be nuts! There's money up for grabs this season in our league so its time for me to find form again after a less than stellar couple of seasons.

I was tempted to take up John Rillie's challenge to compete in his league but to do well in fantasy basketball it requires commitment and I really only have the time to play in one league.

The secret to a good draft is preparation and I haven't done any yet ... so there's work to do over the next few nights.

Michael Jordan vs. Magic Johnson on Pay-Per-View

How good would this one-on-one match up below have been? Click on the title to read the rest of the article. It mentions a match up between Shaq and Hakeem which I remember hearing all about at the time. I remember the "under-card" sounding great too with some awesome point guard match ups.

Dime: NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers » Blog Archive » Michael Jordan vs. Magic Johnson on Pay-Per-View

Michael Jordan vs. Magic Johnson on Pay-Per-View

By Andrew Katz

If you paid $59.99 to watch WWE Backlash just so that you could see The Undertaker take on Kane for a 47th time, there’s no doubt in my mind that you would have paid for this.

Supposedly, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson had all but signed a contract to play one-on-one on Pay-Per-View at some time in 1989-90. Magic was convinced that he had some tricks up his sleeve that would have ensured victory over MJ. But the game never happened and thus neither one of these guys can reap the millions in DVD sales that would have undoubtedly ensued. Maybe if Don King had been involved it would have worked out."

Who would play in your dream NBA one-on-one game? Let me know on the comments below

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NBL coverage on Fox Sports

I just received the press release from the NBL with the announcement of the upcoming coverage of games on Fox Sports.

I know we really can't complain too much because some coverage is better than none ... but ... the games they'll be "showcasing" aren't pretty. I'm not sure why, but there seems to be WAY too many Wollongong Hawks games. I hope Brett Maher finds his touch soon because there are also a number of Sixers games being televised.

Game 1 is the Townsville Crocodiles hosting the Sydney Spirit on October 22. It'll be good to see John Rillie and the Crocs in action ... but I doubt it'll be close no matter how well the Spirit played last week. Next game after that, Hawks vs Cairns in the 'gong ... yawn.

On a more positive note, the real night for NBL action will be Thursdays (from November 20 onwards) when Fox start televising the NZ Breakers game. It should be fun to watch the current highest scoring team in the league run'n gun like their name was the Suns (Phoenix). This year's version of the Breakers with CJ at the point (rather than Henare) feeding Kirk Penney & co on the wings should provide some quality viewing. Their first 3 televised games are against the Dragons, Wildcats and Crocs ... all good.

For more details about the coverage, check out the NBL website (soon, its not there yet).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Get the ball to Brett (Maher)

It must be the day for pointing out NBL great's slow starts, this article (below) is about Adelaide veteran star Brett Maher. Another great shooter whose numbers have been down to start this season. Unlike John Rillie the ironman (how many consecutive games played now?) in my last post ... Maher is often injured so I had just put his less than stellar numbers so far this season down to that. Lanard Copeland thinks differently ... click on the title below to read the full article.

AdelaideNow... Get the ball to Brett
Get the ball to Brett
Article from: The Advertiser


October 14, 2008 11:31am

UNTIL Adelaide consistently gets the ball into Brett Maher's hands, it will continue to struggle, according to legendary future NBL Hall of Fame guard Lanard Copeland.

The MVP of Melbourne's 1993 NBL championship, 'Copes' played the last 56 of his 532 career games (20.2 points average) with the 36ers before retiring after the 2007-08 season. An interested spectator on Saturday at The Cage where his Tigers - who retired his famous No. 21 uniform last season - belted his 36ers 119-91, he said Maher was the key to an Adelaide revival.

'I think Aaron Bruce can play,' he said of the Sixers' dynamic new young playmaker. 'But when Brad Davidson was on, he looked to get Brett more involved.

'Brad knows it only takes a couple of jump shots to get Brett going. He is a match-winner but you have to get the ball to him.

'I didn't think Brett was used effectively at all. With him not having any first-half impact, that's when the Tigers won the game.

John Rillie

We're four games in to the season, isn't it a little early to be worrying about John Rillie's offensive production?? I came across this article below (JR pointed it out on his own site) and I see its now even on the official NBL website. Click on the title below to see the rest of the story.

Now, being one of JR's biggest fans, first thing I do after Townsville play is to check the box-score and see what his numbers are like. Sure they haven't been great so far ... but Townsville are all of FOUR games in to the NBL season. Let's not confuse Rillie with Jacque Vaughn (pictured below) who started one season in the NBA shooting 0 of 22 from the field. Townsville have started this season with 3 wins and 1 loss, good enough for 2nd in the league so I'm sure there are plenty of other teams and players struggling worse than John Rillie. JR, drop 30+ points on the Wildcats this weekend and let's put an end to these stupid stories.

Sportal > Basketball > News
Rillie backs himself
14/10/2008 3:41 PM
Marcus Wilson

Veteran Townsville guard John Rillie says it's been business as usual at training this week despite his lean return during the Crocodiles' first four games of the NBL season.

Rillie has registered just 22 points, dropping seven baskets from 31 attempts from the field. That leaves him with a less than flattering shooting percentage of 22.

The poor figures are an anomaly in the 36-year-old's ultra-consistent career, which has seen him score an average of 15 points a game for the past decade.

Jacque Vaughn ... look at that form kids (left hand placement), no wonder he stunk

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Player Introductions

I just realised that this is the 3rd Dime article by Aron Phillips that I've posted! The newbie at Dime seems to be striking a chord with me. Click on the title below to check out the 90's Chicago Bulls intro.

Possibly the best intro I've ever seen live was at a first round NBA playoff game in Indiana between the Pacers (with Reggie Miller) and the Bucks (with Ray Allen). The lights went off, the big screen came on playing a clip from Hoosiers ... the crowd as one joined in with a slow hand clap and I still get chills remembering the atmosphere ... electric.

NBA Rumors - Trades - Free Agents - Basketball Olympics - Dime Magazine
Lights Out For The Utah Jazz

By Aron Phillips
Utah Jazz

There’s something about NBA pre-game introductions that makes me want to get to the game two hours ahead of time. Growing up watching the Chicago Bulls in the ’90s made The Alan Parsons Project’s song “Sirius” a staple on my iPod – and even the primary ringtone for one of the Dime Crew and his BlackBerry.

Missing player intros is on-par with missing your brother’s wedding. No joke, I’ve spent hours on YouTube searching to see each team’s video – critiquing their music choice, visuals and special effects."

The Next Big Thing ... (maybe)

After spending much of last week in Townsville shooting footage for the Members-Only section of our website, today was my first real chance to catch up on some of the basketball websites I read. Scouring over posts from Dime, I found this. Click on the title and watch the video clip. Its a reminder that if you're not working on your game, someone else is ...

NBA Rumors - Trades - Free Agents - Basketball Olympics - Dime Magazine:
The Next Big Thing: Jayshawn Augusto

By Aron Phillips

11-year-old Jayshawn Augusto is better than you. At 4-9, this baller/track standout rarely misses a shot and can run a 4:40 mile. Yea, you’d didn’t misread that. 4:40. He’s set to break the world record for his age this year. Did I mention his aerobic metabolism is such that he hardly even sweats?"

NBL wrap - round 4

As you will read on any of the numerous blogs, week 4 in the NBL was a round of upsets. You definitely know something strange is happening when the Sydney Spirit go 2 - 0!

Game 1: Wildcats 105 - Tigers 101 (in Melbourne)
For the Wildcats, Shawn Redhage had 31 points, 11 boards & Darnell Hinson had 14 points, 8 assists. For the Tigers, Chris Anstey lead the way with 29 points, 10 boards and Rod Gizzard had 23 points, 9 boards, 5 assists. Ebi Ere wasn't at his normal level shooting just 4 of 14 from the field and committing 7 turnovers.

Game 2: Taipans 122 - Breakers 111 (in NZ)
Game 2, upset 2 as the under-strength (minus the Cat) Cairns team beat the previously undefeated NZ Breakers. For Cairns, Darnell Mee had 26 points, 7 assists, 5 boards, Dave Thomas had 22 points (on 8 of 13 shooting) and Ian Crosswhite had 21 points (on 9 of 11 shooting), 7 boards, 5 assists. For the Breakers, Rick Rickert had 25 points, 10 boards, Phill Jones had 24 points (including 6 of 7 from downtown) and CJ Bruton had 23 points, 7 assists. The foul count and free-throws favoured the visitors and the Breakers weren't helped by 0 of 7 from The Bear (Tony Ronaldson) and 2 of 9 shooting from Oscar Forman.

Game 3: Hawks 85 - Wildcats 82
Looking at the numbers, I'm not sure how the Hawks win when Saville shoots 5 of 22, Cameron Tragardh 2 of 8 and Kavossy Franklin stinks it up again with 0 of 9 from the field. Dusty Rychart was the hero with 18 points, 14 boards and the game winning shot while Anthony Petrie came off the bench for 18 points (on 7 of 10 shooting), 5 boards. Shawn Redhage again had 31 points for the Wildcats and Darnell Hinson and Isiah Victor both had 15.

Game 4: Spirit 98 - Blaze 92
The Blaze continue to have a SLOW start to the season getting knocked off by the suddenly surging Spirit. For the Spirit Liam Rush top scored with 25 points, 7 boards and Julian Kazzouh had 18 points, 10 boards. For the Blaze, James Harvey had 24 points (including 5 triples) and Shane Heal had 20 points (on a poor clip), 8 assists. Sydney would have won by much more but shot just 18 of 36 from the line (ugly).

Game 5: Tigers 119 - Sixers 91
The only non-upset of the round. David Barlow top scored for the Tigers with 29 points, 6 boards, Ebi Ere had 18 points, 8 assists, 5 boards and Rod Gizzard had 17 points, 7 boards, 5 assists. Anstey was relatively quiet for once (11 points, 11 boards) but obviously he wasn't really needed in this win. For the Sixers, Luke Schenscher continues to shine with 25 points, 10 boards off the bench and Adam Ballinger had 19 points, 9 boards.

Game 6: Spirit 101 - Wildcats 86
The Wildcats started their 3 game road trip so well knocking off the Tigers but then dropped 2 they should have won. Derrick Low had 25 points, David Gruber (who??) had 16 points, 9 boards off the bench and Matthew Knight had 16 points 10 boards. For the Wildcats, Redhage was contained to just 10 points, while Ben Knight had 20 points, 5 boards and youngster Steven Weight also had 20. Stinking it up from the field was Darnell Hinson with the goose-egg ... 0 of 10. The Spirit continued their horrible free-throw shooting making just 20 of 36.

In breaking news, Darnell Mee was just named Player of the Week ... not bad for a 37 year old (I thought he was actually older?).

To find out who John Rillie named his Team of the Week, click here

In more breaking news from JR, a former Sydney King could be getting a run in the league again, click here

Apparently someone knew this round of upsets coming, good work Glockers!

And our shooter of the week, Phill Jones for shooting 6 of 7 from deep and (almost) stopping me from mentioning his team-mate Kirk Penney.

Monday, October 13, 2008

SLAM ONLINE | » Odds and ends with Patrick Mills

After checking out the last Slam story about the NBL, I stumbled across this one about exciting young Aussie point guard, Patrick Mills. This was written before the Olympics, before Mills had really shown the world (and the Redeem Team) what he could do. Patrick Mills is one of the most talked about players to come out of Australia in a while and almost single-handedly (no disrespect to the rest of the Boomers) makes it fun again to watch the national team play. Click on the title below to read the full story.

SLAM ONLINE | » Odds and ends with Patrick Mills

Cub Buenning revisits his chat with the Aussie star.

by Cub Buenning

Patrick Mills is a tough guy to check. Scores of college point guards couldn’t get it done, last week Chris Paul wasn’t up to the task, and earlier this summer, even his own coach couldn’t locate the 19-year-old Aussie.

Before the printing of issue #121, only a few of our trusted readers were familiar with the basketball exploits of Patrick Mills. St. Mary’s College (CA) was not a big name on the national television schedule and its recent inclusion into the national top 25 hadn’t happened since the Reagan administration."

(Its no surprise to see Henare burnt by Mills)

SLAM ONLINE | » State Of Australian Hoops, Pt. 1

Thanks to JR (John Rillie) for pointing out this story about the NBL. As it is says, it's only part 1 so I look forward to seeing what else is to come. Click on the link below and read the rest of the article. Check deep in to the comments and it seems that one of our favourites Kirk Penney is an avid reader!

SLAM ONLINE | » State Of Australian Hoops, Pt. 1

The international game is strong, and SLAMonline is ready to back it.

While SLAMonline generally focuses on basketball in the contiguous 48 states (and Toronto too!), we certainly recognize the game’s rapid international expansion. So it’s with a warm welcome that we offer the first of two two pieces regarding the state of Australian basketball.

by Todd Spehr

For the precious few who hold the distinction of being both Australian and a basketball tragic (I proudly tick both boxes) then your life is met with one simple fact: The country of your origin and the game of your devotion do not have a harmonious relationship.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NBL wrap - end of round 3

Having been in Townsville working on footage for the Members-Only Workshop section of the website, I'm a bit behind on the NBL updates.

The end of round 3 was on Saturday night last weekend. The Dragons won on the road taking care of the Hawks 114 - 95 and Townsville beat Perth at The Swamp 97 - 80.

In the first game, Cortez Groves (pictured below) seems to be settling in to his 6th man role, leading the team in scoring with 25 points on 8 of 12 shooting including 6 of 8 from downtown. Mark Worthington (even tho I really don't like him) continues his strong start to the season with 19 points and 9 assists (must have been feeding Cortez). For the Hawks, their bigmen were good, Dusty Rychart had 22 points, 7 boards and Cameron Tragardh had 19. Kavossy Franklin stunk it up from the field shooting 1 of 11 but he wasn't alone as Glen Saville shot 2 of 12.

In game 2 of the night, it was all about 200 gamer Kelvin Robertson. You look at the boxscore and it would seem that his teammates got out of the way and let him go to work. Kelvin had 27 points on 10 of 13 shooting in just 27 minutes of court-time. Rosell Ellis had 14 points, 11 boards and Cameron Tovey had 15 points, 6 boards. No one really fired for the Wildcats ... Darnell Hinson had 15 points, 5 boards and Alex Loughton had 14 points, 8 boards.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Townsville Crocodiles - Doing it for the kids

With the NBL in a "transitional" phase this season, many have commented that part of the problem over the last few years is that the league has lost touch with its grass roots. I read an article (I think by Tim Morrissey) about the death of the Sydney Kings and it mentioned the team no longer did school visits and over recent seasons they had little to do with the local community.

So, when I dropped in on the Townsville Crocodiles training session yesterday it was refreshing to see that this was not infact a league-wide trend. After the team had a full practice session, the whole organisation (all the players and the front office including the CEO) spent another two hours running a "Rookie Club" camp with about 30 local youngsters. The team played games with the kids, signed autographs and did pretty much anything that was needed to keep the kids interested and entertained.

In other notes from Crocs training session:
  • Recent 200 gamer Kelvin Robertson may be short but he is a UNIT! It looks like he spent much of the off-season in the gym and has the AFL arms/guns to show for it.
  • Michael Cedar may not see much court-time in games but continues to show flashes of brilliance
  • Rosell Ellis plays WELL above his height
  • New Croc, Brad Williamson seems to be paying hommage to John Rillie with his new buzz-cut hair style (quite different from what we were used to from Brad in Brisbane)
Thank you to the Townsville Crocodiles coaching staff (Trevor and Lyndon) and the organisation for allowing me to sit in during their practice.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rillie vs Williamson - Crocs practice

I'm up in Townsville doing some work with my boy John Rillie for the Members Only Workshop of the website. I bought a video camera on the weekend and this is my first effort, so be gentle with the criticism ... my fingers are crossed it actually works. Also, I shot it from the stands so wasn't able to use a tripod and after a while my arm got a bit tired.

Here's some footage from the end of Crocs training this afternoon. The team is divided in to pairs and they have to make 100 shots to finish the session. With one of the pairings being JR and Brad Williamson, you know the other teams were shooting for second place. Not surprisingly these two finished well before everyone else.

Brad is a renowned shooter and while he puts in a good performance, there was no way he could keep up with one of the best in the league. He may not have shown it yet this season but watch the video and you'll see why Rillie is still the "Real Deal".

Friday, October 3, 2008

NBL wrap ... Kirk Penney goes off again!

This week in the NBL (so far) started with the Wildcats taking care of the Hawks 105 - 92. Shawn Redhage was his normal efficient self with 29 points (on 14 of 21 shooting), 7 boards and Darnell Hinson had 21 points (7 of 11 from the field, including 5 triples), 7 boards, 7 assists. Youngster and almost Bullet, Steven Weigh struggled (to say the least) shooting just 1 of 10. Glenn Saville led the way for the Hawks with 17 points, 10 boards and Mat Campbell had 16 points.

Last night, the Breakers continued on their winning ways against an under-strength Sixers team, 118 - 80. I told you Kirk Penney was going to be good this season and he didn't disappoint last night leading the way with 34 points on a good clip with 5 assists and 5 steals! CJ Bruton was again handy with 16 points (including 4 triples), 8 boards, 7 assists and Oscar Forman had 14 points (including 4 triples), 8 boards. The Breakers continue to shine from downtown shooting 15 of 28. For the Sixers, Jacob Holmes continued his good form with 19 points, 14 boards and Luke Schensher had 15 points, 13 boards.

In the other game last night, the Dragons came to the coast and took revenge on Shane Heal and the Blazers. Mark Worthington had 20 points, 6 boards, Matt Burston had 16 points (7 of 10 shooting/dunking), 9 boards and Mika Vukona had 11 points (5 of 6 shooting/put-backs), 10 boards. For the coast, James Harvey had 23 points (including 4 triples), 6 boards, Heal had 19 points (including 5 triples) and Ben Melmeth 17 points (8 of 10 shooting), 7 boards.

Coming up this weekend, the best games are Taipans vs Tigers and Crocs vs Wildcats. I for one am hoping both of the North Queensland teams get up.

Kirk Penney, Kirk Penney, Kirk Penney ...